Monday, April 20, 2009
Resource Review - "I Am Standing Up"
I AM Standing Up By: Luke Long 153 pages $9.99 Published by Zondervan
OVERALL - Stories from a self described "freak of nature" (Luke is full grown at 5 feet tall and by his description about as wide as a sumo wrestler). It's a funny walk through being different and living a life of faith.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Luke takes a light hearted look at what it means to be different and some of the lessons he's learned. The book is a combination of quick stories, "freak factoids", "Stories with Uncle Luke" and comics that he's created as well. It's a funny, heart warming and very familiar tour through the painful process of trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in. Given his physique these issues are writ large (small?) in Luke's life. And he explores them all - "momentary hormone-induced stupidity", being picked for teams in phys ed, dates, friends, visits from angels and more. This book is perfectly aimed at middle school age (in fact the MS boys are gonna love chapter 12-The Peach Cobbler Story and chapter 18-Soiling Myself Shogun Style). You could treat the book as a book or just take it one chapter at a time. Each chapter has its own faith connection and Lang generally does a very nice job tying them with clear faith connections. Each chapter is an easy chunk (in a 153 page books he's created 27 chapters plus 6 other pieces)and could get some great conversations off an running. There are plenty of places for folks to connect with Luke's stories. As a parent I couldn't stop laughing at chapter 19- Cow Manure and Grace.
RESERVATIONS There are a couple places where the faith connections are awfully simplistic. Concepts like give everything up to Jesus and the pursuit of the kingdom. The ideas are certainly good but they are rather like jargon. Relying on quick pat phrases does nothing to help our young people really come to grips with a life in faith. I don't want to teach kids the cliches of faith. I wanted him to give a more solid explanation of what that means for the kids. I also got a little itchy with a small aspect of the story in the anointing of David. These are small things but because so much of the rest of the book is so GOOD these little things glare out a little more than normal.
RECOMMENDATION Once I got started reading this I wanted to finish it. Lang's stories all had a very familiar feel to me. Chapter after chapter I got the "Oh yeah, been there, done that" feeling. He reminds us that Jesus called the freak, the geek and the weak. The book isn't written as a youth program but it'll fit in very quickly. This would be a great place for a middle school group to start talking with each other. Plus you'll have fun reading the book and it just might make a huge difference for your young people.